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Play by the rules? : coordination of EU sustainable development policies and the importance of the politico-legal context

There is an increasing amount of attention on EU and its Member States contributions to implementation of two landmark agreements: the Paris Climate Agreement and the UN Agenda 2030 with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Absent from the current literature is an analysis of the political effect of legal competences on coordination between EU and Member State actors. Legal competences will become increasingly important for transformative sustainability policies. By using different case studies focusing on alternative fuel policies, ‘Team EU’ in climate negotiations and SDG implementation, this dissertation attempts to explore the potential of including legal competences as independent variables explaining coordination of EU and Member State actors.

Ries Kamphof
22 November 2018
Leiden Repository

The findings nuance some of the theories in which the role of EU Treaties is often neglected. The dissertation also shows, however, that the legal competences are sometimes not used habitually unless clear examples of behaviours ‘contrary to the Treaty-logic’ or ‘contrary to sustainable development objectives’.

The dissertation not only serves academic integrative purposes. There is increased societal attention for legal avenues to influence political decision-making. As an example, the Dutch ‘Urgenda’ case demonstrate that Courts can be responsive to the argument that Member States’ policies are ‘unlawful’ to avoid dangerous climate change. 

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